CULTIVATE is taking a rare week’s break and, as many others are doing, I'm embracing the time to spend with friends, family and most importantly food.

Although I spend a lot of time working with food I don't get as much time as I'd like to spend cooking, eating and enjoying it.

That's why this year I insisted on taking responsibility for sourcing and helping prepare the veggie aspects of our family Christmas meal.

As I've mentioned in this column before, my partner and I started our own veg patch this year, and it was here that I first turned to for our festive veg.

We easily pulled enough potatoes, parsnips and leeks for us but unfortunately our Brussels sprout crop fell foul of some very hungry caterpillars back in the summer.

Luckily the local farmers who supply Cultivate are a little better than me at naturally keeping the pests at bay and managed to avoid a brassica massacre.

This meant we had a fine supply of sprouts from North Aston Organics which my family very much enjoyed on Sunday.

And it made me wonder, why I only eat them on Christmas Day?

Brussels sprout season runs from October to March and an article in the Telegraph claims there are more than 9,000 ways to cook them.

Rather than boiling them, which can cause the sprouts to emit an odour not too dissimilar to rotten eggs, you can roast them to bring our their sweet nutty flavour.

Then try coating them in a honey glaze or adding in apple and bacon.

They can even be eaten raw when shredded in a winter salad with crumbled blue cheese, pears, cranberry and homemade vinaigrette.

Brussels sprouts are surprisingly high in protein for a green vegetable and just one serving would meet your vitamin C and vitamin K needs for the day, so they'll be a great addition to a January healthy eating plan – more versatile than I'd given them credit for.

It appears sprouts aren't just for Christmas, they're a great dish served well into the new year.